With the clocks recently changing, it’s worth considering the amount of business driving that will now be done during the darker evenings, as well as the hazards it can bring. In 2019, in November and December alone, the number of pedestrian and cyclist deaths and injuries rose by 5% compared with the two months prior to the clock change.
Pedestrians and children are especially vulnerable during this time¹, so it’s important to be mindful of the ways in which drivers can help to keep them safe:
- Keep an eye on your speed. Near schools 20 really is plenty, and out on the road driving at 35mph means you are twice as likely to kill a pedestrian than you would be at 30mph, should the worst happen.
- Children can be harder to see and may run out from between parked vehicles. Remember to ‘Look OUT’ – Over, Under, and Through vehicles – you might spot someone before they step out.
- Predict what pedestrians are going to do. Some give tell-tale signs:
- Looking over their shoulder? They might be about to cross
- Gap between you and the car in front? They might think of running across rather than waiting for you to pass
- On their phone? They might not be aware of traffic and could step out without checking first
- When passing stationary vehicles keep at least a door’s width whenever possible. This helps avoid any car doors that might open, or someone or something emerging into your path from between the vehicles.
- When it’s raining and cold pedestrians are more likely to rush about. Road safety often falls lower on their list of priorities than trying to keep dry so stay vigilant.
- With clocks only recently going back, it can take cyclists time to get into the routine of using/attaching their lights so be mindful of any that may be caught without them.
IAM RoadSmart’s head of driving and riding standards, Richard Gladman said: “In a perfect world pedestrians would all be on the pavement and would never have to cross a road. In a near perfect one a pedestrian on a road would be wearing flashing high-vis and your car would be shouting about their presence – in our real world it is up to us to share the road space, be aware and help where we can. An effort to be courteous will go a long way to making someone’s day and will help keep us all safe”.
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